A LONG-running quest to see victims of Britain’s most prolific paedophile financially compensated for the abuse they suffered may have come to an end – because his final estate amounted to just £50,023.
William Goad was jailed for life in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of serious sexual assault – now categorised as rape following changes in the law – and two charges of indecent assault.
He was described in court as a “voracious, calculating, predatory and violent homosexual paedophile” who sexually abused young boys over a 30-year period.
Goad died of natural causes at HMP Isle of Wight, Albany on October 20, 2012.
During his last court hearing the court heard that he had £26,325 in his bank account, with a further £25,000 due to be transferred within the next 21 days.
Goad had been considered a wealthy businessman.
He ran a number of discount stores in Plymouth and had been a director of Cornish Market World which housed Ben’s Playworld, created by himself and a business partner.
For many years, Goad’s victims tried to have the paedophile stripped of his assets and solicitors were set the task of hunting down his funds.
Investigators concluded that in the run-up to his arrest and after he had initially fled to Thailand to escape justice, Goad divested himself of directorship after directorship of his numerous firms.
One victim, Ray Zolla, who was a teenager in the late 70s when he was abused by Goad, was even awarded a six-figure pay out in 2010 after facing him in civil court. However, Goad declared himself bankrupt just days before being handed a draft judgement, and Mr Zolla never saw a penny.
Goad’s will was finalised by a city-based firm, and a legal document states that as of December 16, 2013 the gross value of his estate amounts to no more than £50,023 with a net value of £49,894.
A public notice had been placed in The Herald on October 31, 2012, and saw Plymouth solicitors Fursdon Knapper act for the executor – Peter Goad, William’s brother. They appealed for anyone who had a claim against the estate to contact the firm before January 7, 2013.
In September last year solicitor Charles Knapper spoke to The Herald about the administration. He said the estate was of a “remarkably low value”.
He added: “We did get phone calls from solicitors who were considering making a claim but we were very frank with them of what the estate consisted of.
“A wealthy millionaire he [Goad] is absolutely not. I can’t see any evidence that he was ever a millionaire. [He] died almost penniless”.
Some of Goad’s victims say they have now been told by solicitors acting for them that it is no longer worthwhile attempting to sue the estate.
Goad victim and justice campaigner Paul Wyatt said he was informed of the will and told by his solicitors there were insufficient assets to make it worthwhile suing the estate, as it would not cover the cost of defending the action, solicitor’s fees and any compensation. As a result the solicitors, who were also acting on behalf of at least one other victim, have said they will close their file by the end of February.
Mr Wyatt said the result was no shock, as he knew Goad had squirrelled his money away years before.
“He carefully planned and dismantled his empire,” he said. “Money disappeared from his accounts. He knew what he was doing when he wrote his will. He hid the money away or legally transferred funds to other accounts. I always argued a forensic accountant should have been involved during the police investigation.
“I still feel that the Proceeds of Crime Act should be used to put aside money for victims of sex offenders.
“If we had such a law when Goad was convicted then this money wouldn’t be going to his brother, it would be going towards his victims, to help pay for their treatment in dealing with the awful trauma of what Goad did to them.”
WILLIAM GOAD: PREDATORY SEX OFFENDER
BORN in 1944, William Goad went on to become Britain’s most prolific paedophile.
It is believed he abused hundreds, perhaps even thousands of boys over four decades.
He is reported to have once boasted of beating his own “record” of abusing 142 boys in one year.
Victims revealed he threatened some boys into procuring other boys for him to abuse.
Goad was jailed for life in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of serious sexual assault – now categorised as rape following changes in the law – and two charges of indecent assault.
Detectives said Goad would prey on vulnerable young boys and use various techniques to ‘groom’ them before sexually abusing and raping them.
He would invite them to his home in Ford Park Road, Mutley, or offer them well-paid jobs in one of his shops.
Victims were often threatened with ‘being sorted’ with violence if ever they ever spoke of what had happened.
He opened Cornish Market World in 1991, which became at one point Britain’s biggest indoor market with more than 300 stalls.
In the mid 1990s Goad launched Ben’s Playworld, a childrens play zone hosting a range of activities aimed at two to 12-year-olds, including mega-slides, giant tubes and a massive ball-pond.
After conviction, staff said he used to spend a lot of time at Ben’s Playworld.
During the 1970s Goad worked at the dockyard. He later set up his own shops throughout the South West, including two branches of Barbican Discounts in Plymouth.
Some of his victims later claimed Goad sexually abused them at his stores in Plymouth.
Some of Goad’s victims later committed suicide, others battled drug abuse and mental illness or turned to crime.
Judge William Taylor, who jailed Goad for life, described him as a ‘dangerous paedophile’ and fixed a determined sentence of six years and two months. He said Goad would ‘not be released until the authorities are satisfied you pose no risk to anyone, particularly children’, but added: “It may well mean in your case that life may mean just that.”
The earliest abuse case city police unearthed dates back to 1964 when Goad was himself just 19 years old.
Goad fled to Thailand in 1998 on a false passport, aware that police were on his tail following new allegations.
He was arrested in June 2003 after returning to UK on a false passport.
Goad was turned down for parole in 2010, having never admitted his guilt.
He died of natural causes on October 20, 2012 at HMP Isle of Wight, Albany.